Telecoms Package: Protect the free and just society!

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Brussels, Sept. 19th

The crucial first reading vote on the “Telecoms Package” will take place in the European Parliament, in Brussels, on Wednesday, Sept. 24th. Even if some noticeable progress was made, some dispositions of these internet regulation directives still pose an important threat to civil liberties and fundamental rights. La Quadrature du Net calls for its supporters to mobilize on the amendment 138 tabled on the Trautmann report[1Amendment 138, by Guy Bono, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Zuzana Roithova, Michel Rocard, Marielle de Sarnez, Christofer Fjellner, Rebecca Harms, Marco Cappato, Jean-Luc Benahmias and others,] to guarantee that “graduated response” could not emerge in Europe.

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“We want Europe to protect citizens, as stated in the primary objectives of the Telecoms Package. Conversely, these directives must not on the opposite erode individual rights and liberties.” declares Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

Unfortunately, even if some amendments were positively reworked and neutralized according to the recommandations of the European Personnal Data Supervisor (EDPS)[2Thus confirming the EDPS and La Quadrature’s analysis], rapporteurs of the texts most of the time didn’t follow the primary recommendations. Instead of deleting the concerned problematic parts of the text, they chose to try to rewrite them. The result is a vague and broad text[3For an example, look at amendment 191 introducing recital 12(c) about “cooperation” between administrative authorities, internet service providers, and cultural industries’ representatives. Nowhere is clearly closed the door to target messages based on surveillance of individual behaviour of internet users. This is a major part of the “graduated response” scheme that isn’t precisely framed here.], introducing new concepts in the European law (such as the notion of “lawful content”).

The main risk is that this fuzzy wording be used by some Member States to authorize administrative authorities to restrict freedom of expression and information of internet users suspected of unlawful file sharing, without any prior judicial ruling.

This is not a fantasied, illusory risk. For instance, the French parliament shall consider as soon as november a draft law transfering repressive power to an administrative authority acting upon request from the cultural industries’ representatives.

It is essential to us that the European Parliament eliminate that risk that could potentially jeopardize the proportionality principle as well as the separation of the powers, but also weaken the acceptability of necessary criminal enforcement measures. Measures that national public authorities can implement to fight terrorism or child pornography shall not be extended to issues related to non-profit music or movie sharing over the internet between individuals.

La Quadrature calls all its supports, consumers, citizens to urgently help raise attention among Members of European Parliament (MEPs) on those issues, and ask them to vote for the Bono/Cohn-Bendit/Roithova amendement (138) in order to guarantee that civil liberties will remain protected by Justice.

References   [ + ]

1. Amendment 138, by Guy Bono, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Zuzana Roithova, Michel Rocard, Marielle de Sarnez, Christofer Fjellner, Rebecca Harms, Marco Cappato, Jean-Luc Benahmias and others,
2. Thus confirming the EDPS and La Quadrature’s analysis
3. For an example, look at amendment 191 introducing recital 12(c) about “cooperation” between administrative authorities, internet service providers, and cultural industries’ representatives. Nowhere is clearly closed the door to target messages based on surveillance of individual behaviour of internet users. This is a major part of the “graduated response” scheme that isn’t precisely framed here.